Lynchburg Hillcats rough up P-Nats
The Lynchburg Hillcats batted around and scored four runs in the fifth inning of a 7-3 win over the Potomac Nationals Friday night at City Stadium. Navery Moore went six innings of one-run baseball to pick up his third win in as many starts. Will Skinner drove in two runs and eight of the Hillcats starting nine either scored or drove in a run in the win.
Moore (5-4) got above the personal .500 mark for the first time this season. It was his second start against the Nationals this season and first since opening day, when he was unable to get out of the second inning after giving up seven runs. This time around was much better for Moore, who gave up one run on five hits in six innings of work.
The Hillcats (25-20) jumped in front early with a two-run first inning. Matt Lipka led off the inning with a double and was sacrificed to third then driven in on a single grounded through the drawn in infield by Shawn McGill. Kyle Kubitza would single home McGill later in the inning to make it 2-0 after one.
Potomac (23-23) starter Taylor Hill settled in for a few innings after that, retiring the side in order in the next two innings. The ‘Cats got to him again in the fourth when Skinner doubled into the left field corner to plate Kubitza.
Then the offense blew it open in the fifth, batting around and scoring four runs. Lipka led off the inning with a bunt single, stole second base and got to third on a wild pitch. That drew the infield in for Ross Heffley, who chopped one through the hole on the left side for an RBI-single. After McGill popped out, Hill plunked Robby Hefflinger with a pitch and David Rohm drove an RBI-double down the right field line. Skinner and Elmer Reyes each contributed RBI-singles later in the frame to round out the scoring.
That ended Hill’s day. Hill (4-2) gave up seven runs on ten hits in 4.2 innings. It was the second start for Hill this season that he failed to get through five innings. He entered the game with the best ERA of active qualified pitchers in the Carolina League.
The Nationals cut into the lead with a two-spot off reliever Ronan Pacheco in the seventh. An RBI-triple by Francisco Soriano and a couple of infield hits sparked the rally. John Cornely walked two in the ninth inning but was able to strike out the final two hitters of the game to get through the frame scoreless to secure the win.
The ‘Cats look to earn the series win in Saturday’s game two. First pitch is 6:05pm with gates opening at 5pm. The first 500 kids 14 and under through the gates will get a free T-shirt, courtesy of High Peak Sportswear and WYYD. Jarett Miller (3-2, 4.15) throws for the Hillcats against Potomac’s Blake Schwartz (3-1, 0.96) in the game. If you can’t make it to the game, join Erik Wilson and Jake Levy for all the play-by-play action, starting with the Hillcats On-Deck Show, powered by Honda/Suzuki of Lynchbrug, at 5:40pm on 97.9 FM The Planet and lynchburg-hillcats.com.